President for the Interim Term
I married into Drew and made my home here beginning in February 1959. My husband, Robert Bull, was on the faculty of the Theological School. We lived in Tipple D along with several faculty, including Ray and Fern Hart and Nell Morton. It was a great place to learn about Drew, my new home.
The following summer I became part of the team at work at the archaeological site of ancient Shechem, managing the finances, the kitchen and working in the field. Just as I had never thought about life in the academy, I had never dreamed of a life in the Holy Land on digs, one that spanned the summers from 1960 to 1996.
We spent the academic year 1960-61 in Jerusalem and then returned to Drew. I took a job with Bell Labs in human factors engineering, primarily doing statistical work on a variety of projects. John Pepin, the chief financial officer at Drew, had taught accounting for some years, and he called and asked if I would be interested in taking over his position. I had never thought about teaching and had prepared to be involved in research, but I accepted the challenge. The class met at 8 am three days a week and then I went to Bell Labs. On Monday night we had a four-hour accounting lab that met in the biology lab located on the first floor of Faulkner House. It worked very well until the second semester when the day students began dissecting animals. Four hours of a very strong formaldehyde smell made it a challenge putting those numbers into little boxes.
Two years later, I was offered a full time position in the Department of Economics, providing I would complete my PhD. I found a real calling to move into the academic world. It was an exciting time at Drew as many changes were taking place and Drew was often in the forefront of these changes, including semester long programs overseas, the computer initiative, and internships. Drew was attracting an increasingly higher quality student with diverse interests and backgrounds. It was also possible to work in various aspects of administrative activities. I have recently heard from so many former students and that has been a joy…thanks to all of you.
In 1992, I was invited to become president at Linfield College in Oregon. I felt Drew had given me enormous opportunities to learn and grow, and this was my next step.
After 13 years in which I learned much, I retired from Linfield and worked for several years as a volunteer with the Global Education Fund of the United Methodist Church. We worked with colleges and universities on five continents that were in various stages of development, but all related to the Methodist Church.
When the call came asking me to consider an interim position as president of Drew University, I was honored, but I was not certain that I should accept the kind offer, because I was so close to Drew in so many different ways. Although I had a lot of experience both at Drew and beyond, could I make a contribution at this time to help prepare the university to be ready to search for a new president?
As I await the start of the 2012-13 academic year, I have had the opportunity to be on campus, meeting with members of the community and learning from each person more about what makes up Drew as a whole. It has been exciting and rewarding. That very special feeling that so many of us have about this institution, still exists, deep in the hearts and minds of so many folks who are here. There are challenges, just as there are at almost every institution of higher education these days. But those challenges are being met with care and concern, along with some frustration—that is to be expected. But know that the true spirit of Drew is strong and you are a vital and valued part of this community. I invite each of you to become a participant in this new era for Drew University, in whatever way possible. Perhaps you will help with student recruitment, sponsor an intern, cheer on an athletic team, attend a concert, play or a lecture, and you can always demonstrate your support through donations. I also look forward to seeing you on campus.